Disney halts famed 'I'm going' Super Bowl ads


Who is going to Disney World after winning the Super Bowl on Feb. 6?

Nobody, because after 19 years the Magic Kingdom has elected to halt the promotional series in which a star of the game proclaims he is headed for the popular Florida theme park.

Who went to Disney World?

A look at all of the figures who have uttered the famous phrase since Disney began the popular promotional ads 19 years ago: The List

VIDEO: I, Max on Disney’s move

Curt Schilling made the trip after winning the World Series.

The absence of the promotion by family-oriented Disney comes as the NFL attempts to clean up the Super Bowl after Janet Jackson’s breast-exposing “wardrobe malfunction” became the headline-grabbing incident of last year’s game. But Craig Dezern, a spokesman for Walt Disney World in Orlando, told USA Today the move has “no connection at all” with the indecency uproar.

Dezern instead cited poor timing between the Super Bowl telecast and two theme park marketing efforts that are now in full swing: the “Happiest Celebration on Earth” promoting the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, which begins on May 5, and a “Magic Your Way” plan offering more flexible prices and vacation plans for consumers.

The league, while it elected not to comment, has been careful to monitor matters such as songs, costumes and dances planned for the big game.

And Dezern said the decision to halt the “What’s Next?” ads is limited to the upcoming Eagles-Patriots clash on FOX. He left open the possibility of a comeback for the 2006 game, which will be broadcast on Disney’s ABC-TV.

“I wouldn’t read anything into the future of the program. This is about where we need to put our focus right now,” Dezern said.

The campaign kicked off in 1987 with Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms. And the phrase “I’m going to Disney World!” quickly crossed over to effectively become a part of pop culture. Disney later expanded the campaign to 35 ads.

The commercial, which has sometimes taken several on-field attempts to get correct, usually hits the airwaves in a matter of days after the game, an impressive turnaround time indeed.

The most recent of them included the Red Sox’s trio of Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz after the team completed its World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Other athletes who have uttered the famous phrase moments after victory include Super Bowl winners John Elway and Joe Montana, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson from the NBA; and baseball’s Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. But it hasn’t been just athletes, with Santa Claus and Miss America also taking a turn. (Full list)

The ads were said to be the brainchild of the wife of longtime Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Jane Eisner reportedly got the idea at a luncheon with aviator Dick Rutan, who joked that he would top his latest flying feat by taking his family to Disneyland.